An artist’s rendering of the new Port Angeles unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, scheduled for opening in May 2020. (Boys Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula)

An artist’s rendering of the new Port Angeles unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula, scheduled for opening in May 2020. (Boys Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula)

Groundbreaking set Friday for new Boys Girls Clubs youth center

PORT ANGELES — A groundbreaking ceremony at 3 p.m. Friday will herald the beginning of construction for a new Port Angeles unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula youth center, slated for opening by May 31, 2020.

State lawmakers Steve Tharinger and Mike Chapman will be among the featured program guests at the groundbreaking site at the corner of Lauridsen Boulevard and Francis Street, where the $6.9 million, 16,500-square-foot facility will be built, complete with a new gym.

A community fundraising effort will be getting underway to raise money to develop the playground and buy furniture that will supplement furniture and equipment being moved from the 7,000-square-foot Boys & Girls Club facility at nearby 2620 S. Francis St., Resource Development Director Janet Gray said Wednesday.

“We’re looking at doing a push on our campaign to raise a little more money to add those elements in,” she said.

“That’s going through board approval now.

“We’re hoping activities up on the boulevard will inspire giving and a lot of confidence in the organization.”

The existing clubhouse averages about 140 children a day during the school year — and has a waiting list of 180 children who will be accommodated at the new facility, Gray said.

“We should be able to accommodate 300 kids a day without any problems,” she said.

Fundraising so far has concentrated on major gifts of $25,000 or more.

The upcoming effort to attract funds will include community appeals, a radiothon, and a community event to secure remaining dollars and “put the roof on,” Gray said in a press release.

She said Wednesday the organization is still fine-tuning the final cost of the project.

The $6.72 million already raised to fulfill 97 percent of the project’s $6.9 million goal includes $3.2 million in grants and $1.7 million in pledges.

Most pledges are being fulfilled under contributors’ payment plans, Gray said.

“They all seem to have skin in the game already,” she said.

“We have signed letters of commitment from each of those donors and are securing financing now,” she said, describing them as bridge loans.

The new clubhouse will continue offering children’s lunches and will include computer, art and game rooms, but will have an added gym, a dedicated teen center and a commercial kitchen, an upgrade from the existing galley-size cooking area.

The new facility also will include an education room, a middle school room, a conference room and an art room.

At least three part-time employees will be added to the staff of 14 workers, CEO Mary Budke said in an earlier interview.

The existing facility is in two converted Peninsula Housing Authority residential housing units built in the 1940s.

Children 6 to 18 years old can attend the club year-round for $30 per year, per child, regardless of income.

The clubhouse and Housing Authority low-income residential homes are being replaced with 232 new homes.

The Boys & Girls Club facility is being built on land leased from the Housing Authority for $1 a year.

Housing Authority Executive Director Kay Kassinger will make comments at the groundbreaking.

So will Chapman and Tharinger, representatives of District 24, which covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and part of Grays Harbor County.

The state Legislature earlier this year approved a $575,000 state Department of Commerce grant for the Boys & Girls Club project.

Steve Deutermann, board president for the organization, which runs a facility in Sequim, will make comments at the event.

Also speaking will be Budke, fundraising campaign co-chairs Norma Turner and Jim Hallett, and Addison Holland, the organization’s youth of the year.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected] peninsuladailynews.com.

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